It’s more than a holiday concert, it’s Eastlake Elementary’s Jingle Bell Jukebox Christmas
Dec 10, 2019 02:31PM
By Julie Slama
The Eastlake Elementary choir rehearses before school for its 1950s jukebox holiday concert. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
“Hey kids, what brings you to the soda shop today?”
“Hi Ruby, we’re here for some Christmas cheer.”
Ruby, dressed in her poodle skirt, then reveals the Jingle Bell Jukebox and the kids break out in song, “F-R-O-S-T-Y” in an upbeat version of “Frosty the Snowman,” and they perform the hand jive.
This is one of 10 songs, Eastlake Elementary’s 75-member choir will perform in its 45-minute “Jingle Bell Jukebox” holiday concert at 2 p.m. and again at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 19 at the school, 4389 West Isla Daybreak Road.
“It’s a fun ’50s throwback, with lots of speaking parts and a big (cardboard) jukebox the kids will put their coins in for the music,” said fifth grade teacher Joanne Frost, who is directing the choir with colleague Kerry Simi. “It’s set in a soda shop, with lots of fun melodies, some harmony in songs with a lot of Christmas spirit.”
The fourth, fifth and sixth grade students will sing familiar songs, such as “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Sleigh Ride” and “Jingle Bell Rock” as well as some new ones such as “Jingle Bell Jukebox” and “Comin’ Up Christmas Time.” There’s even a “Santa’s On His Way” medley made up of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Up on the House Top” and “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”
Fifth grader Grant Best said even the familiar songs aren’t set to the same familiar tune.
“They’re more jazzy, more of a dance beat,” he said. “I like it because they’re fast and fun, and I have a lot of energy.”
His classmate, Fiona Boxell, who has been in the choir since it began last year, said she sings a duet with a new introduction to “Let it Snow.”
“It’s not the same as what you hear all the time; it’s a new part,” she said. “The songs are familiar but unique. We’re singing harmony on ‘the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.’ It’s really fun to sing with other students.”
Fifth grader Eliza Cannon joined choir at the urging of her friend Grace Castleberry, who performed last year’s pirate-themed Christmas show. Santa and the elves were on an island relaxing before Christmas and encountered pirates, who they then persuaded that it was better to give than to take before having a 1980s theme spring concert, with hits such as “Footloose,” “Eye of the Tiger,” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”
In this year’s holiday concert, Eliza is singing a solo in “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” —“The three best words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote”: and then will be joined by the choir, half dressed in red, singing “Stink,” and half in green, singing “Stank,” before they all sing together, “Stunk.”
Eliza said during the two months of before-school weekly rehearsals, the choir learned the songs first by singing along to the words on a PowerPoint before singing them without them. Frost also posted the music on a Google classroom where choir members could access it and practice it at home.
That’s what Grace did.
“It’s all super fun, and everyone is getting into it,” she said. “It’s something we like doing.”
Her classmate Miles Nash is excited to perform it for parents and the community.
“I have a speaking part,” he said, adding that he likes it since he likes to perform in theater. “I did last year, too. It’s a lot of fun and makes my parents proud.”
Frost is a supporter of more arts education.
“I love it, and there’s not enough music and arts in the school,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for our students to sing and create memories.”
Ruby, in the show, agrees: “Thanks to you, kids, I’ve got more cheer in my heart than marshmallows in my famous hot chocolate,” she said.